Thierry Henry will not be available for the Crew Thursday…

Posted on 18 May 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

…neither will Salou Ibrahim or Carl Robinson. Or for that matter Austin da Luz, who will miss six weeks with a “Jones fracture” on his left foot. This information courtesy of the New York Red Bulls official Twitter account.

So where does that leave us?

With very few options in attack, for one. Juan Pablo Angel will almost certainly start. Not that there was any doubt before. But who will be paired with him on the front line? John Wolyniec? Perhaps the most realistic alternative. Brian Nielsen? That experiment didn’t exactly go well against the Sounders. Conor Chinn? He’s behind the aforementioned on Hans Backe’s depth chart. Dane Richards? Don’t laugh, it could happen.

Of course the choice of a striker partner for Angel depends in no small part on the midfield lineup. Hopefully Backe has had enough of the Seth Stammler at left midfield experiment. Regardless, Stammler is more urgently needed to fill Robinson’s spot of holding midfielder at this point. Does that mean Nielsen starts at left mid? One would expect so given his “deer in the headlights” performance at forward on Saturday.

Stammler is by no means a shoe-in to start at holding midfielder, however. Tony Tchani has played well in the role recently, especially in his one start at San Jose. This one is an open question and I don’t suspect Backe himself has decided on it at this point.

What about right mid? From Dane Richards’ early substitution from the Sounders match it would appear that Backe is finally on to his (numerous) shortcomings. Whether that translates into a benching is an entirely different matter of course.

I think one can reasonably expect Backe to roll the dice with Jeremy Hall in right midfield, for the following reasons:

  • Hall has been a good soldier and deserves his chance to start at his preferred position
  • He played effectively at the position in last week’s U.S. Open Cup win over New England
  • An element of surprise or unpredictability is needed against the Columbus Crew. Hall provides a spark at the position that other options (Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Dane Richards) do not.

That would leave Wolyniec or perhaps Richards as Angel’s striker partner. But if Backe doesn’t like what he’s seeing from Richards at right midfield it is doubtful he would want him as a forward. Wolyniec is old reliable. You know exactly what you’re going to get. And he and Angel have trained and played together for more than three years.

Don’t expect Bouna Condoul to sit either, even though he probably should. Conor Chinn will likely make the bench along with Ubiparipovic, Stammler (if he doesn’t start), Tchani (if Stammler does), Carlos Mendes and perhaps Irving Garcia.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Lenny Says:

    Here's what I'd like to see:

    —–Angel——Chinn—–
    —-Nielsen—-Tchani—-Lindpere—-Hall—-
    —-Miller—-Ream—-Petke—-Albright
    —Condoul (by default)—

  2. ASN Editorial Says:

    Could definitely happen, though I still think you're more likely to see Woly than Chinn at this point.

  3. Ethan Says:

    Angel—Agudelo
    Nielsen–Lindpere–Tchani–Hall
    Miller—Ream–Petke—Albright

    Put Richards in 65-70 mark for Hall/Agudelo

  4. Ethan Says:

    Angel—Agudelo
    Nielsen–Lindpere–Tchani–Hall
    Miller—Ream–Petke—Albright

    Put Richards in 65-70 mark for Hall/Agudelo

  5. Leslie Mcgalliard Says:

    Klar Aber was, wenn es kein Morgen gibt? Heute gab es nämlich auch keins.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. World Soccer Reader » New York vs. Columbus Preview Says:

    […] the dangers of the 4-3-3, that the fullbacks can be caught high up the pitch), I think there is a good case that Hall should be allowed to play in his preferred position of left wing – if we put […]

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